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Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the…
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Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati (Definitive… (1999 original; edició 2004)

de Scot D. Ryersson (Autor)

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For the first three decades of the twentieth century, the Marchesa Casati astounded Europe: nude servants gilded in gold leaf attended her; bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table; and she was infamous for her evening strolls, naked beneath her furs, parading cheetahs on diamond-studded leashes. Artists painted, sculpted, and photographed her; poets praised her strange beauty. Among them were Gabriele D'Annunzio, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton, and American writers Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, and Ezra Pound. Couturiers Fortuny, Poiret, and Erté dressed her. Some became lovers, others awestruck admirers, but all were influenced by this extraordinary muse. The extravagance ended in 1930 when Casati was more than twenty-five million dollars in debt. Fleeing to London, she spent her final flamboyant years there until her death in 1957. Now nearly a half-century later, Casati's fashion legacy continues to inspire such designers as John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, and Tom Ford. Fully authorized and accurate, this is the fantastic story of the Marchesa Luisa Casati.Scot D. Ryersson is an award-winning freelance writer, illustrator, and graphic designer. He lives in New Jersey.Michael Orlando Yaccarino is a freelance writer specializing in international genre film, fashion, music, and unconventional historical figures. He lives in New Jersey.… (més)
Membre:AlexiaR
Títol:Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati (Definitive Edition)
Autors:Scot D. Ryersson (Autor)
Informació:University of Minnesota Press (2004), 233 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati de Scot D. Ryersson (1999)

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From the “interesting women” reading list. It’s argued that Marchesa Luisa Casati was the third most painted woman in history – after the Madonna and Cleopatra. She was certainly one of the most painted women of her time in another sense of the word – she favored extremely heavy makeup, with a chalk-white base, shocking red lipstick, and eyes darkened with kohl – she sometimes went as far as using 2” long false eyelashes, gluing velvet to her eyelids, and enlarging her pupils with belladonna drops.


She didn’t start this way; as a young girl she was fairly ordinary, overshadowed by her older sister Francesca. Her family was wealthy industrialists; they owned cloth mills in northern Italy, and sought to move up socially by marrying Luisa off to the Marchese Camilo Casati, a noble but impoverished Italian cavalry officer. Luisa apparently settled down to the typical life of a young Italian wife in the early 1900s, giving birth to a daughter, Cristina, and managing a rural household while her husband busied himself with hunting, hounds, and horses.


Then something happened – perhaps a long-suppressed desire to be different, maybe a stray cosmic ray interacting with a brain cell, or who knows what, and the previously drab and dutiful Marchesa suddenly went over the top. She cut her hair, dyed the remainder bright red, adopted her signature makeup style, bought a villa in Venice, and began throwing wild parties and having affairs. She picked up a menagerie – an assortment of large snakes, a monkey that guests described as “loud and smelly”, and several cheetahs. She entered parties wearing nothing but makeup, a fur coat, and a boa constrictor, and escorted by a pair of large, silent, black servants who wore loincloths and carried torches. Now and then she had the servants painted gold, for variety. She patronized artists, sometimes pestering them for weeks until they agreed to paint her. She picked up another villa in Paris and rented one on Capri, with all used for increasingly exotic fetes and masquerade balls. She recruited lovers of both sexes – the most famous being novelist, poet, aviator, war hero, and proto-Fascist Gabriele d’Annunzio. She traveled around the world – authors Scot Ryersson and Michael Yaccarino note it’s hard to keep track of her, as rumors would put her in several places at the same time, and because she never kept any diaries or wrote anything down, preferring the visual.


It couldn’t last, of course. By the 1930s, her wealth was depleted, exacerbated by her habit of paying bills with art objects and her complete horror of dealing with things like taxes. She fled to London and moved through a series of increasingly squalid houses and apartments, complicated by the Blitz and the fact that she was technically an enemy alien. Most of her old friends and lovers ignored her, although a few came through now and then to make sure she had enough to eat – and money for makeup. She died in 1957 at the age of 76; her remaining friends saw to it she was buried with a new set of false eyelashes, and a stuffed Pekinese. Her gravestone in Brompton Cemetery has an inscription from Antony and Cleopatra – “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety”.
( )
1 vota setnahkt | Dec 12, 2017 |
Intressante quadro della vita di una signora milanese del '900 ( )
  fortunae | Mar 26, 2010 |
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For the first three decades of the twentieth century, the Marchesa Casati astounded Europe: nude servants gilded in gold leaf attended her; bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table; and she was infamous for her evening strolls, naked beneath her furs, parading cheetahs on diamond-studded leashes. Artists painted, sculpted, and photographed her; poets praised her strange beauty. Among them were Gabriele D'Annunzio, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton, and American writers Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, and Ezra Pound. Couturiers Fortuny, Poiret, and Erté dressed her. Some became lovers, others awestruck admirers, but all were influenced by this extraordinary muse. The extravagance ended in 1930 when Casati was more than twenty-five million dollars in debt. Fleeing to London, she spent her final flamboyant years there until her death in 1957. Now nearly a half-century later, Casati's fashion legacy continues to inspire such designers as John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, and Tom Ford. Fully authorized and accurate, this is the fantastic story of the Marchesa Luisa Casati.Scot D. Ryersson is an award-winning freelance writer, illustrator, and graphic designer. He lives in New Jersey.Michael Orlando Yaccarino is a freelance writer specializing in international genre film, fashion, music, and unconventional historical figures. He lives in New Jersey.

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